Probation, Privatisation and Perceptions of Risk

  • Wendy FitzgibbonEmail author


In this chapter Wendy Fitzgibbon resets the current debate about privatisation of probation in the United Kingdom to show that the risk management approach rather than a ‘rehabilitation revolution’ is its dominant driving force and that a public–private combination of increasingly centralised public sector probation and the private ‘security-industrial complex’ of global security corporations has destroyed the probation service’s relationship with voluntary sector and community work within probation itself. She argues that this process has had an impact on media perception of probation and illustrates how media moral panics about high profile murders and the management of serious violent cases have legitimised a vindictive attitude to the practitioners and managers associated with these cases, imputed a culture of disproportionate practitioner culpability and undermined the social status of probation practitioners. She ends on the optimistic note that the recent high profile incompetence and alleged criminality of both corporations and operatives in the private sector may serve to redirect media focus to those aspects of deskilling of probation work which have hitherto escaped the limelight.


Voluntary Sector Probation Officer Probation Practitioner Criminal Justice Agency Probation Service 
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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of CriminologyUniversity of LeicesterLeicesterUK

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